Comfortable Dental Implants in Columbia, SC
At the office of Dr. Gregg McKenzie, DDS, we're proud to provide world-class dental implants and periodontal treatment to patients throughout the Columbia, SC area. As a leading implant and periodontal dentist in our community, we strive to maintain a gold standard in patient care, and Dr. McKenzie works hard to personalize treatment to perfectly suit the needs of every patient. Our goal is to help you achieve the smile of your dreams as comfortably and conveniently as possible – and sedation dentistry is often an integral part of that process.
What Is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry is the practice of using sedatives – chemicals that numb the body and calm the brain – to keep a patient comfortable during a dental procedure. Generally, sedation is only used for more extensive dental procedures like placing dental implants, but sedation may also be used to calm anxiety or for patients that have trouble sitting still.
There are a wide range of options for sedation dentistry, and each is appropriate in certain situations. At the lowest level, using nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, can help calm feelings of anxiety in patients with a phobia of the dentist's chair. On the other end of the spectrum, general anesthetics are used to put patients to sleep during more involved dental procedures. Many procedures require at least some form of sedation, and we offer several options for sedation at our office:
- Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)
- Oral Sedatives
- IV Sedation
- General Anesthetic
Is Sedation Dentistry Safe?
Sedation is endorsed by the American Dental Association as an effective, safe way to comfort patients during a dental appointment, and practices all over the country use sedation dentistry on a daily basis. That said, we take careful precautions at our office to maximize your safety, following up on your medical history and any current medications to ensure you're comfortable and at ease throughout the procedure. Dr. McKenzie will also talk with you about any forms of sedation he recommends, answering any questions you may have and ensuring you fully understand the sedation process and any pre- and post-sedation instructions.
Nitrous Oxide (N2O), or "Laughing Gas"
Commonly called "laughing gas," nitrous oxide is a common dental sedative used to help quell feelings of anxiety during a visit. We can mix nitrous oxide with oxygen to achieve a potency that's right for the patient and the procedure, providing the following effects:
- Mild sedative that helps patients relax and calms anxiety
- Many patients feel "giggly" or "silly"
- Patients are fully conscious during the procedure
- Effects wear off almost immediately after we remove the mask
- Usually produces no side effects, although some patients experience mild nausea and constipation
IV Conscious Sedation
Intravenous (IV) sedation, sometimes also called "sleep dentistry" or "twilight dentistry," involves using an IV to deliver sedatives directly to the bloodstream. IV is a more powerful form of sedation than nitrous oxide, but patients still remain conscious during the procedure. IV sedation generally has the following characteristics:
- Highly effective for patients who feel fearful or anxious about the visit
- Patient remains conscious and responsive throughout the procedure
- The sedatives act as an amnesiac, which means patients won't have any memory of the procedure, even though they were conscious throughout
- Often used for procedures like wisdom teeth removal, which are more involved but benefit from an awake patient
A local anesthetic involves injecting a numbing agent directly into the tissue using a hypodermic needle. The most common local anesthetic for dental procedures is lidocaine, but there are a variety of options available. Local anesthetics have no effect on the consciousness or mental state of the patient – they simply numb a targeted area or the entire mouth. Local anesthetics produce the following effects:
- Numbs the treatment area, preventing pain during the procedure
- Patient remains fully conscious and experiences no sedative effects
- Local anesthetics in the mouth can cause difficulty speaking until the anesthetic wears off
- Patients can drive themselves home after the procedure without issue
Contact Your Columbia, SC Periodontal Dentist
Sedation dentistry is an effective, convenient tool for help you stay physically and mentally comfortable during any dental procedure, and if you'd like to learn more about how we can use sedation dentistry to help you, we'd be happy to speak with you. Feel free to call us at (803) 788-0900 with any questions or to schedule your next appointment. We look forward to hearing from you and ensuring your next dental appointment is as comfortable as possible!